Third time is the charm for Carson boys soccer team |

Third time is the charm for Carson boys soccer team

The third time was the charm for Carson High's boys soccer team.

After suffering two heartbreaking one-goal losses in the regular season to Wooster, the Senators, thanks to second-half goals by Rogelio Herrera and Guillermo Hernandez, turned the tables on the favored and unbeaten Colts with a 2-1 victory to capture the Division I regional championship on a snowy Monday night at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.

The win sends Carson (15-3-1), which won the regional title in 2012, into the state tournament which starts Friday at North Valleys. Carson plays Cimarron Memorial at 6 p.m. Wooster (18-1) plays Green Valley at 2 p.m.

"It's incredible, especially after the season they had," coach Mike Alvarez said. "They were the team to beat and they hadn't lost all season.

"They absolutely had more opportunities (14-4 shot advantage). All things said, I thought our defense did a spectacular job. Fortunately for us, Wooster was unable to convert."

The back line, led by Peter Garrett, Christian Martinez, Osvaldo Gomez and Guillermo Perez-Morris, did a solid job. However, the biggest stop of all was by reserve keeper Victor Guardado, whose kick save on Steve Garcia on a 1-on-1 situation in the 65th minute kept the game tied at 1. Guardado entered the game at the start of the second half when Efren Ramirez suffered an ankle injury.

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"God was with me," Guardado said while accepting congratulations from family and friends. "Efren got hurt, and I was able to come in and make a difference."

"That save encapsulated his whole season," Alvarez said. "As a reserve keeper, you don't get a lot of opportunities to play, and to step in like that was incredible."

That save catapulted Carson onto bigger and better things.

Three minutes later, Herrera sent a through ball into Wooster's side of the field. Wooster keeper Max Barainca came out of the box and tried to kick the ball away. He appeared to slip and whiffed on the attempt. Hernandez never stopped running. He corraled the ball, and instead of trying to shoot to the open goal right away, dribbled a few feet closer and knockd it in with 12 minutes left.

"He (the Wooster goalie) did try to kick it and I just kept going to the ball," Hernandez said. "After I got the ball I saw a player coming. I thought he might steal it."

Wooster had a couple of looks after Hernandez's goal, but the Colts were turned away.

The Colts dominated the first half with an 8-0 shot advantage, but Ramirez was equal to the task with five saves.

Three of those eight shots came in a flurry in the 37th minute, and Salvador Jiminez beat Ramirez after the first two attempts were unsuccessful.

Carson evened the score in the 52nd minute when Herrera took a through ball and beat Barainca.

"I was able to get to the ball, controlled it with my left foot and then let the shot go with my left foot," Herrera said.